By Aly Semigran
Life can speed by in the blink of an eye, the wag of a tail, the throw of a ball. It’s important to not only cherish it, but to capture the spirit of it all. That’s exactly what photographer Amanda Jones did with her incredible new book, Dog Years: Faithful Friends Then & Now.
In the black-and-white photography book, Jones captures the essence of dogs, from young to old, over the course of their lives. Inspired by her own beloved Dachshund, Lily, who is featured in the book, Jones crafted a tome that’s a must-own for any dog lover, and a reminder for all humans: beauty is found at every age.
The book features two photos for each dog—one in youth and one in old age. However, some of the dogs have an extra shot showcasing middle age. The project was 25 years in the making and Jones says she loved every minute of it, especially what the exercise taught her about life, aging, and family.
“[Having a dog] is like having a child,” Jones says. “They change and you just need to appreciate the age they are at and not long for the good old days.”
No matter the pup’s age, Jones quickly learned that not all dogs photograph the same, and she corralled her subjects with all sorts of antics.
“I have many, many tricks I use to get a good image,” she says. “I try and read the dog and figure out what will work best for them. Treats? Tennis ball? Funny noise? Each dog is different that way.”
For the final cut, Jones chose photos that really demonstrate a transformation between young and old. Some of the dogs just didn’t show signs of aging. “Lucky dogs,” she quips.
For Jones, the whole project is a tribute to her dear, departed Lily. The dachshund was Jones’s rock and inspiration throughout her life.
“Lily Jones taught me persistence,” she says. “She taught me that there is beauty and joy at every age. Even when you get old and your skin starts to sag, you can still run on a sunny beach or chase a squirrel; maybe just not as fast.”
Jones hopes that people not only get the same lessons from the book but that they learn to appreciate all dogs.
“Dogs are beautiful and unique creatures,” she says. “Each and every one should be celebrated and appreciated. Never neglected. Never abused.”
Lily: Ages 8 months and 15 years
Corbet: Ages 2 years and 11 years
Abigale: Ages 4 months and 8 years
Image: Chronicle Books